When Clive Reynard and I embarked on this project earlier in the year, our aim was to produce a short commemorative booklet containing cameo portraits of those whose names are inscribed for posterity on Eastleach War Memorial.
These were young men, some barely more than children,who had connections with Eastleach. They may have been born here, attended the village school or worked on local farms. A hundred years later, we send our children off to work or university. A century ago, they enlisted and set off from Eastleach to serve in the Great War. Sadly, they never returned. Apart from two, who are buried in Eastleach churchyard, they now all rest “in some corner of a foreign field.”
The objective was to help the current generation relate to the youngsters behind the carved names on the memorial by recalling their short lives and their sad ends. The reality of what happened to them, both in Flanders and further a field, doesn’t make easy reading. It is difficult for us to grasp the true horror of their experiences but I hope that, in some small way, my researches will enable the reader to empathise with them as real people who left our lovely village, full of hope, possibly even excitement, and who gave their lives for their country and for what they considered to be a just cause.
On this, the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, the “war to end all wars”, we pay tribute to them all and hope that they will be remembered for evermore.
4th August 2014